Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
March 2, A.D. 2008
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a
Psalm 23: 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
John 9:1-41 or 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38
A reflection on today's Scripture:
The Fourth Sunday in Lent is filled with light and celebrated in joy. In fact, we call it "Laetare Sunday."
At the beginning of the Mass today, the Church commands us: "Rejoice!" (Laetare). If your parish is fortunate enough to own a set of rose-colored vestments, the celebrant will probably wear them at Mass. It's even okay to have flowers on the altar today!
Why all this joy? Because it's "break-time" from the journey, when, like mountain climbers, we stop and look back to see how far we've come! The readings are all about walking in the light, all about seeing things and people as God sees them. In the first reading, Samuel is forced to choose a new and better king than Saul. He visits Jesse, who lines up six stalwart sons. Which one is it, Samuel wonders? What a puzzle! Without the light of faith, he would never have chosen the seventh and youngest son, David.
In the second reading, St. Paul tells us to live as "children of the light." Light brings goodness. Light exposes the shameful works of darkness. And then comes a very long Gospel which tells the story of the man born blind. After denying that the man was blind because of some terrible sin, Jesus bent over, scooped up a little clay, and smeared it on the eyes of the blind man.
You'd think the Pharisees would have been delighted and grateful at this miracle. But, no, because they were spiritually blind, they couldn't see beyond the law. They quibbled and complained that Jesus has broken the Sabbath rest. Even though they considered themselves enlightened scholars, they were really blind. They didn't see from the heart.
The newly-discovered sight of the blind man is also a metaphor for faith that comes when God draws us out of darkness into light. If Laetare Sunday is a time to rejoice, then we rejoice today that we have light in us which comes from our Baptism, from the living experience of sharing faith in our families, from having our sins forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and from Confirmation in the Spirit. And, best of all, we are able to see with the eyes of Jesus when our very person is absorbed into His Body and Blood of the Eucharist.
Sometimes we are unaware of the light of our faith, and we slip back into darkness. We misjudge people, seeing only the exterior. We do not see as Jesus sees. From this comes rash judgment, a critical spirit, and unforgiveness. In this darkness, we cannot even see ourselves as God sees us. St. Francis of Assisi had a great saying: "What we are in God's sight, that we are, and no more."
The whole world comes into our homes through the Internet, TV, magazines or phone conversations. What do we see? And how do we see? Can we have the heart to see injustice, the suffering of others far away as the suffering of our own sisters and brothers? Sometimes we merely look, and do not see with our heart.
This is a good Sunday to resolve to shun the darkness, and see all things in the light of faith. After all, as members of His Body, we are the light of the world that can help adjust the vision of those with whom we live. Let's rejoice today that Christ is the Light of the World. He is the One who calls us also to be light bearers.
- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday)
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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